Wildfires in British Columbia

August 17th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images [click to play MP4 animation]

A 2-panel comparison of GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the smoke plumes and thermal anomalies or “hot spots” (darker black to red pixels) associated with a flare-up of wildfires in western British Columbia on 17 August 2018.

A sequence of Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) images from Terra / Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP / NOAA-20 VIIRS (below) revealed the diurnal changes in areal coverage and intensity of the thermal signature of the fires.

Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) images from Terra / Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP / NOAA-20 VIIRS [click to enlarge]

Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) images from Terra / Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP / NOAA-20 VIIRS [click to enlarge]

Toggles between Visible and Shortwave Infrared images from Terra MODIS (1912 UTC), NOAA-20 VIIRS (1950 UTC) ans Suomi NPP VIIRS (2129 UTC) are shown below (note: the NOAA-20 images are incorrectly labeled as Suomi NPP). It is interesting to note the impact that the smoke plume had on the air temperature at Quesnel (CYQZ) — because the smoke layer was optically dense enough (VIIRS True Color image) to significantly reduce incoming solar radiation, the temperature was as much as 14-18ºF (8-10ºC) cooler than Prince George (CYXS) to the north and Williams Lake (CYWL) to the south.

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Terra MODIS Visible (0.65 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.7 µm) images at 1912 UTC [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 1950 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 2129 UTC [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.74 µm) images at 2129 UTC [click to enlarge]

===== 19 August Update =====

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

GOES-17 Near-Infrared

GOES-17 Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images [click to play 81 Mbyte MP4 animation]

A 2-panel comparison of GOES-17 Near-Infrared “Cloud Particle Size” (2.24 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images during the 7-day period of 13-19 August (above) showed the diurnal changes in thermal signatures of the ongoing British Columbia wildfires. The nighttime thermal signatures seen on the 2.24 µm images (brighter white pixels) result from the fact that this spectral band is located close to the peak emitted radiance of very hot features such as active volcanoes or large fires (below).

Plots of Spectral Response Functions for ABI Bands 5, 6 and 7 [click to enlarge]

Plots of Spectral Response Functions for ABI Bands 5, 6 and 7 [click to enlarge]

Hurricane Lane in the eastern Pacific Ocean

August 17th, 2018 |

NOAA-20 VIIRS Imagery at 1023 UTC on 17 August 2018. Day Night Band Visible (0.7 µm) and I05 Infrared (11.45 µm) imagery are shown (Click to enlarge)

The active eastern Pacific Hurricane season continues, as Lane has formed. Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 overflew the system early on 17 August 2018. The toggle above, from NOAA-20’s VIIRS Instrument, shows both the Day Night Band 0.70 µm visible Image and the 11.45 µm infrared channels. Lack of lunar illumination means that only Earthglow is making clouds visible; a distinct eye is not present. The step animation below between the NOAA-20 11.45 µm infrared and, 50 minutes later, Suomi NPP’s 11.45 µm Infrared, right at the limb of the scan, also show no distinct eye.

VIIRS I05 11.45 µm Infrared Imagery from NOAA-20 (1023 UTC) and Suomi NPP (1113 UTC) on 17 August 2018 (Click to enlarge)

In fact, however, an eye was likely present at this time. As noted in the National Hurricane Center’s 0900 UTC Discussion (Link), “Recent microwave images show a well-defined low-level eye, but this feature is not yet apparent in geostationary satellite images.”  AMSR-2 (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2) estimates of Convective Precipitation and Surface Rainfall in the toggle below (data from 1003 UTC) show a distinct eye.  AMSR-2 is a microwave instrument that flies on JAXA’s GCOM satellite;  microwave views of tropical cyclones are able to penetrate the cirrus shield that is commonly present, revealing important information about the low-level structure of a developing system.

GCOM AMSR-2 estimates of convective precipitation and surface rainfall rates at 1003 UTC on 17 August 2018 (Click to enlarge)

Polar Orbit tracks are available here. For the latest information on Hurricane Lane, refer to the National Hurricane Center or to the CIMSS/SSEC Tropical Weather Website. Imagery from Polar Orbiters are available at this site that shows data from an antenna in Honolulu.

Thank you to William Straka, CIMSS, for the imagery.

Hurricane Hector

August 6th, 2018 |
NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

* GOES-17 images shown here are preliminary and non-operational *

A toggle between NOAA-20 and Suomi NPP VIIRS Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images (above; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) showed the well-defined eye of Hurricane Hector after it had reached Category 4 intensity on 06 August 2018 (advisories: EPAC | CPAC).

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (below) revealed cloud-top gravity waves within the eyewall region of the storm, along with thin filaments of transverse banding in the northern semicircle farther from the eye.

GOES-17

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-15 (GOES-West) Visible (0.63 µm) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm) images (below) showed that eyewall cloud-top infrared brightness temperatures were in the -70 to -80ºC range (black to white enhancement).

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm, left) and Infrared Window (10.7 µm, right) images [click to play animation | MP4]

A magnified view of GOES-15 Visible images (below) revealed mesovortices within the eye of Hector.

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-15 Visible (0.63 µm) images [click to play animation | MP4]

Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds (below) surrounding the eye were near 70 knots around 1930 UTC.

GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) image and Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

GOES-15 Infrared Window (10.7 µm) image and Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds [click to enlarge]

The MIMIC-TC morphed microwave product (below) showed that Hector underwent an eyewall replacement cycle early in the day on 05 August, and then maintained a well-defined eye as it subsequently strengthened to a high-end Category 4 intensity on 06 August (ADT | SATCON).

MIMIC-TC morphed microwave product [click to play animation]

MIMIC-TC morphed microwave product [click to play animation]

===== 07 August Update =====

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A nighttime NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) image (above) revealed the presence of mesospheric airglow waves (reference) propagating northwestward away from Category 4 Hurricane Hector on 07 August. Note that these high-altitude waves were not apparent on the corresponding Infrared Window (11.45 µm) image.

Smoke from Mendocino Complex fires in California

August 4th, 2018 |

GOES-16

GOES-16 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, left) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm, right) images, with hourly plots of surface observations [click to play animation | MP4]

GOES-16 (GOES-East) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.9 µm) images (above) showed the smoke and thermal anomalies or “hot spots” (red pixels) associated with the Mendocino Complex burning in Northern California on 04 August 2018. Smoke was reducing the surface visibility to 2.5 miles at nearby Sacramento International Airport KSMF and Marysville KMYV. As of 7pm local time on 04 August the Mendocino Complex had burned 229,000 acres.

A 30-meter resolution Landsat-8 False Color Red-Green-Blue (RGB) image viewed using RealEarth (below) showed active burning along the eastern edge of the Ranch Fire (part of the Mendocino Complex) at 1845 UTC. The larger fire was producing a pyrocumulus cloud in addition to the dense smoke plume drifting northeastward.

Landsat-8 False Color image [click to enlarge]

Landsat-8 False Color RGB image [click to enlarge]

GOES-16 Upper-level (6.2 µm), Mid-level (6.9 µm) and Low-level (7.3 µm) Water Vapor images (below) revealed a southwest-to-northeast oriented band of moisture and fast flow associated with a middle to upper-tropospheric jet streak that was moving over the region (300 hPa analyses). “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images showed the smoke plume drifting rapidly northeastward over California and Nevada, and visible Derived Motion Winds — which are calculated for pressure levels at and below 700 hPa —  tracked the smoke moving as fast as 58 knots at 2337 UTC. This speed was faster than 00 UTC winds at or below 700 hPa on rawinsonde data from either Oakland KOAK or Reno KREV.

GOES-16 Upper-level (6.2 µm, top left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, top right), Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom left) Water Vapor and "Red" Visible with Derived Motion Winds (0.64 µm, bottom right) [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-16 Upper-level (6.2 µm, top left), Mid-level (6.9 µm, top right), Low-level (7.3 µm, bottom left) Water Vapor images and “Red” Visible (0.64 µm, bottom right) images with Derived Motion Winds [click to play MP4 animation]

===== 07 August Update =====

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), Near-Infrared (1.61 µm and 2.25 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images [click to enlarge]

NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), Near-Infrared (1.61 µm and 2.25 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A comparison of NOAA-20 VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm), Near-Infrared (1.61 µm and 2.25 µm) and Shortwave Infrared (3.75 µm) images (above; courtesy of William Straka, CIMSS) showed the nighttime glow and thermal signatures of the Mendocino Complex fires on 07 August 2018. As of 8:30am the fire had burned over 290,000 acres, becoming the largest wildfire on record in the state of California.